Watch-out for Knockout!

Watchout for the knockout

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Do you have brick cracking? It could be a sign your walls are collapsing from termite damage. Most homeowners have no idea that bricks and mortar cracking could be a sign of serious termite damage.

However, your termite company should know. Brick walls are not the structural support for your home. They are merely for decoration. We were surprised to learn that fact too.

The wood walls BEHIND the brick are the structural support for the weight of the home. All the lawyers at Campbell Law assumed it was the other way around until we learned different! Brick walls are referred to as “veneers” in the building and termite trades.

They are attached to and held onto the house by brick “ties.” A brick tie is a piece of corrugated, galvanized metal that is nailed to the wooden studs and plates in the exterior walls. The bricklayer then sandwiches the other end of the tie into the mortar between bricks.

This is a trial exhibit for an upcoming case in Mobile, Alabama.


The bricks and mortar above the garage opening developed cracks. Our entomology and builder experts did not even need to dig into the Sheetrock inside the garage. They knew that what was happening was that the wood in the wall was damaged by termites and it was collapsing.

As gravity compressed the wall, the brick ties pull on the brick and form cracks. The Defendants’ expert looked at the wall and the defense lawyer wanted to know if the larger piece above the door (called a “header”) was damaged by termites. So the contractor dug through the Sheetrock with a screwdriver. 

What they discovered behind it was exactly what Campbell Law PC’s experts expected – the header was shredded by Formosan termites. 

What lessons should we learn?

First, get help when you have termites! Your termite company wants to minimize how bad things may be. Subconsciously, homeowners are all too willing to accept as true a prediction that the problem is nothing serious. We don’t want to admit we have a devastating problem.

Second, get help from lawyers and experts in the right trade who have deep experience with termites – especially Formosan termites. 

In this situation, experts were able to see that the whole garage wing needs to be replaced due to termite damage in structural members. If you have had a similar experience with Knockout Pest Control in South Alabama, please let us know.